#667: JanusVR’s Vesta Hub is the Beginnings of the Decentralized Metaverse

james-baicoianuThere is a lot of promise of a decentralized metaverse built on top of the open web, but the idealism of that promise isn’t yet matching the quality & stability of experiences from centralized, native applications built on top of Unity or Unreal Engine. WebVR is still waiting for it’s official WebXR release on Chrome, and so the existing implementations have hit or miss support on the available WebVR browsers from Oculus, Samsung, Firefox, and Supermedium. JanusVR is a social VR application built using a JanusVR Markup Language that compiles down to WebGL, and they’ve been on the forefront of implementing the latest decentralized web technologies. I explored through JanusVR’s Vesta portal hub and while some of the cheesy low-fi graphics felt like the early days of the World Wide Web & Geocities, it also felt like I was immersively exploring the nascent beginnings of the decentralized metaverse built on top of open standards.

I had a chance to talk with JanusVR developer James Baicoianu who talks about JanusVR, some of their decentralized web infrastructure, some of his social experiences from JanusVR, and the work that he’s doing with Internet Archive in order to bring some of their classic Internet Arcade games into an immersive METAcade.


I was able to explore JanusVR on a number of different platforms, and it definitely performs better on a proper VR PC compared to the mobile VR client for Oculus Go, which was a pretty laggy experience. There is a huge difference between getting something to work and having it always “just work.” JanusVR is on par with the rest of the WebVR community at the moment in that it is still really in the early days of dealing with inconsistencies, performance issues, and generating compelling content. JanusVR does actually have a pretty robust curation site called Vesta, which is also a physical site that autoloads new sites as you walk down different aisles of trending sites, popular sites, and new sites.

JanusVR has been making a lot of user experience innovations when it comes to navigating the metaverse with bi-directional portals, URL-based navigation, making it easier to create immersive content through a declarative markup language, and making WebVR content available across mobile VR, PC VR, and 2D web browsers. The technical achievements of JanusVR are impressive, and I suspect that the overall user experience, performance, and consistency will improve over time.

There are a lot of open questions when it comes to how the metaverse will work, and JanusVR will be on the forefront of trying to figure out things like user interfaces, virtual currencies, navigation, and how to have portable and self-sovereign identities that can seemlessly interface with VR communities like High Fidelity.

Some of these open questions include whether or not WebVR sites should progressively load objects where the world is slowly assembled around you, or if it is a better experience to have a loading screen and only enter a scene once it’s been fully loaded completely rendered. JanusVR progressively loads pages which works great on the 2D web, but I felt that it breaks presence to have a world assembled around you piecemeal. There are also many open questions for how exactly portals between sites should work. For example, when you go into a new world, do you automatically to see the portal back to the world from where you just came from? Or should you enter the world without any trace of how you got there? JanusVR leaves a portal in new scene to the previous space, but I found that this occluded the new world in a way that broke presence. These are many of these types of questions that JanusVR is helping to elucidate through building a working implementation. There are a many implementation options that need to be experimented with before these types of lower-level questions become a part of the open standards for how WebVR will build interfaces between immersive worlds.

Overall, I’ve been impressed with the range and breadth of technical implementations from JanusVR, and they’ve made the process of immersive website creation more accessible to a wide range of creators. Some of the JanusVR sites give me a low-fidelity, early Web/Geocities vibe, which I’m sure that we’ll some day look back on with fond nostalgia. So in that spirit, I’d recommend exploring JanusVR’s Vesta portal hub just so that you can mark what the early beginnings of the metaverse feel like.

This is a listener-supported podcast through the Voices of VR Patreon.

Music: Fatality

Support Voices of VR

Music: Fatality & Summer Trip

Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. Hello, my name is Kent Bye, and welcome to the Voices of VR Podcast. So on today's episode, I'm going to be talking to one of the developers of JanusVR. So JanusVR is a social VR application that is using a lot of WebVR and WebGL technologies. So JanusVR, it's not the biggest social VR application, you know, VRChat is probably the biggest native social VR application and, you know, have really elaborate experiences that are created with Unity. So JanusVR though is taking a little different approach in the sense that they have their own markup language and so you can very quickly prototype some quick experiences, immersive experiences. It kind of reminds me of the early days of GeoCities. You have these people who are doing just kind of some wacky art experiences, and they're just trying to create some tools that are easy to kind of democratize the process of creating some WebVR websites. If you have an Oculus Go, you can check out their JanusVR application, and you can check out some of the small WebVR experiences that they've curated there. But I had a chance to talk to James Bacquiano. He is a developer for JanusCR, but also working on some really interesting stuff with the Internet Archive and MAME in order to bring these old video games to the masses through this process of emulation through the web browser. So get some vibes of Ready Player One, of going back through computer history and being able to have access to some of these games that you may not otherwise be able to play. you know, with the deprecation of a lot of these different hardware platforms, they're just trying to democratize the access of that. So, actually, next week is a decentralized web summit sponsored by the Internet Archive. And so I'm going to be attending there, moderating a panel with a number of different people within the VR community, talking about what kind of decentralized efforts are happening. I'm actually going to go back through my archives and air a number of episodes that I've recorded over the past six months or so, just talking to a number of different people that are in the decentralized space, whether it's cryptocurrencies, decentralized land, and just what's happening in general with the decentralized efforts for virtual reality. So we'll be covering Janus VR and lots more on today's episode of the Voices of VR podcast. So this interview with James happened on Thursday, October 12th, 2017 at the Oculus Connect 4 conference in San Jose, California. So with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.

[00:02:33.148] James Baicoianu: My name is James Abekuyanu. I'm the principal developer for GenusVR. I mainly work on our web client, so GenusWeb, bringing kind of all of our existing content into just traditional web browsers, making it accessible to everyone.

[00:02:47.097] Kent Bye: Great. Yeah, so I know that JanusVR has had their own markup language, I guess you could say, to be able to create immersive scenes. And now with the advent of WebVR, maybe you could describe to me how JanusVR's markup language is kind of interfacing with something like WebVR and 3GS.

[00:03:04.994] James Baicoianu: Sure, so as you said, we launched our native app in 2013 and kind of defined this basic markup language for people to define scenes. How I got involved was I'd actually been working on a WebGL engine for a while and I built this kind of WebVR arcade where you could go and play old arcade games. And I wanted to bring that into a more social experience. It was kind of a lonely thing as it was. So instead of kind of deciding to build my own, I figured I would look around and that's when I stumbled across Genis. And I ended up building a new client for them using WebVR. So basically, I was able to take all of this markup that we've defined, which makes it easy for people to build these worlds, and we already had, you know, something like four or five thousand different worlds that people have built. Anything from kind of, you know, personal homepages and, you know, just kind of vanity sites, all the way up to people have been making, you know, applications and 360 photo viewers, videos, etc. You know, the markup makes it very easy for anyone to do that. We have kids that are doing that, you know, building custom worlds for themselves. We've been working with a lot of exporters as well. One of our philosophies is we don't want to be the ones to build all these tools. All these amazing tools already exist out there and we just want to be able to integrate with them and let people use the workflow that they're comfortable with, that they're already familiar with. So we've been working on exporters and importers for Unity, Blender, Unreal, you know, even kind of more interestingly lately we've been working on importers for Doom and Quake levels, you know, there's thousands of these old worlds out there that people have to go out and, you know, install software to view traditionally. Now they're available just, you know, you click a link and you're running around in Doom world with your friends kind of thing.

[00:04:54.048] Kent Bye: Yeah, and I'm still a little confused in terms of the relationship between WebVR and Janus kind of fits in. And I'm familiar with something like A-Frame, which it seems like it's a high-level framework to be able to do that markup, but then that gets kind of compiled down into 3JS and this markup language of A-Frame down into like a WebGL level. So maybe you could walk through the similar stack for how Janus is doing that.

[00:05:17.929] James Baicoianu: Sure. So Janus markup is basically the scene descriptor. So it tells you where all the objects in the scene are placed. And then the WebVR client, basically, you know, we use 3GS as our rendering engine, similar to A-Frame, and we're able to take that markup, the world that you've defined, and just render that. You know, the WebVR API allows us to send that to the headset and to, you know, do all the stereoscopic vision and all the, you know, time warp and that kind of thing. So really the WebVR API is just a thin layer on top of all of the 3D rendering stuff that we're already doing.

[00:05:54.062] Kent Bye: I see. So it sounds like A-Frame and JanusVR are kind of equivalent in the stack, then, it sounds like.

[00:05:58.604] James Baicoianu: They're very similar. They're both Entity Component Systems, both built on Three.js, started around the same time, even.

[00:06:05.267] Kent Bye: OK. OK. That makes sense. And so it sounds like that there's actually a pretty big, vibrant community of people who are creating worlds in almost like maybe the most elaborate and big metaverse manifestation of interconnected, open worlds that you can kind of go between. describe how you even make sense of what is out there.

[00:06:26.097] James Baicoianu: That's part of the hard part, because like you say, there's a lot of people out there creating content, and it varies in quality. We have a lot of people made just kind of Hello World type worlds, where you have a plain room with some simple pictures or some sound. But people who are more familiar and more comfortable with 3D development have been able to build really amazing worlds. And I think part of the problem we have is how do you weed through these thousands of worlds and find the interesting ones? So that's part of what we've been working on lately is we launched a site called Vesta, which is our own VR content hosting service. It's actually based on a service that one of our community members made called VR Sites, where he built this service where anyone could host their content and it would expose that in a way that makes it easy to find new content. And so we've just launched that about a month ago, and it makes it a lot easier to see what's going on and see what people are creating.

[00:07:25.012] Kent Bye: What's your personal favorite memory or story of something that you were involved with in Janus VR?

[00:07:32.575] James Baicoianu: My personal favorite was probably the story of how I met one of our community members, Gunpig. So this is pretty soon after I hooked up my arcade, Medicaid, to Janus VR. And I was kind of showing people around. So this guy kind of wanders into my arcade, and he's kind of looking around and checking out the arcade machines. and I had a video on the wall of Journey, Separate Ways, a very cheesy viddy music video. So, you know, I see him come up to that and he was using leap motion and he starts, you know, puts up the devil horns and he's kind of rocking out to it. And I come up behind him and, you know, he turns and sees me, he's like, So it was just kind of like this connection that we made. We were thousands of miles away, but it was a social experience. I could see him enjoying the work that I had put into this world. And from there, we started having conversations. And those are the type of interactions that we love to encourage and facilitate.

[00:08:31.016] Kent Bye: Yeah, and in order to view some of these JanusVR experiences, do you have to download the JanusVR client, or have you moved completely into the browser, and people have to either download a Firefox version 55 browser to see WebVR, or an experimental web browser of Chrome, or how are people actually seeing and consuming this content?

[00:08:51.303] James Baicoianu: So our native client is still going strong. So absolutely, if you want to install that, that's our premium experience, where we have better lighting and materials. But our web client, primarily people use that in 2D right now. So this allows anyone with a regular browser, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, whatever they would like to use, they can just click a link and go right into these worlds without having to install anything. In order to access WebVR content, as you said, Firefox latest versions, you can do that right out of the box. Chrome is still under development. I think they have some experimental builds which are not in the best of state right now. So even they are recommending you go with Firefox at the moment. But we're really looking forward to the next, hopefully in the next few months, we'll see Chrome officially launching WebVR. And that'll be an exciting time for us.

[00:09:45.462] Kent Bye: And when it comes to links in between these different worlds, it's a challenge, I guess, because you enter into a link, and then instead of in the website, you don't have a physical representation of that door at all. And so you're kind of plopped into that website. And in VR, you're kind of teleported into a door, but you can't necessarily turn around and walk back out, because that would require the other person to have a door back to your place. So how do you create portals in between these different worlds? And is it easy and possible to be able to do either one-way or bi-directional doors?

[00:10:19.151] James Baicoianu: Oh yeah, it's definitely possible. So within this markup that we've defined, one of the tags is the link tag. And that lets you point to either other rooms within your site, or you can point to external sites. And these are seamless portals. So you just kind of walk up to this door and click it. And you can see through the door, the content on the other side just kind of loads in. And you can decide, you can kind of peer in and see what's going on. Or maybe the room doesn't look interesting. You can move on to another one. Or maybe you just want to walk right through. We have experimental versions of that in our WebVR client as well. So again, if you've built a room that has links out to other rooms, many people have built these kind of, I don't want to call them a portal, but in the traditional web sense of a portal where it's a site that's an index of other sites. So again, this VR site started off that way where someone would go through and kind of categorize these different rooms based on their content, you know, gaming content or business-related content. We do our meetings in GenisVR, so we kind of, you know, build rooms that are conducive to conducting meetings. And so, depending on the room, many of them are isolated experiences which don't have links out somewhere else. But many of them are these kind of hubs of activity where people link out either to their own projects or just to interesting worlds that they've found around the internet.

[00:11:44.917] Kent Bye: So why should people check out JNSVR? What are some of the most compelling features there?

[00:11:50.602] James Baicoianu: I mean, that question depends on if you're a developer or a consumer. I think that most of our community right now is developers. We appeal to developers because I think it makes it very easy for people to take either existing content or new content they're working on and just make that available to a very wide audience. Right now, if you have to distribute as a native application, it's a lot of work to target all the different platforms. Gear VR, we've got desktop, obviously different binary formats, so if you want to go for Mac OS X, and you know, that's a lot of work to maintain those, versus with Genes markup, it's HTML, you know, so you can just publish, write that and publish it, and you can view that on your mobile phone, you can view that with, you know, proper desktop, you know, VR setup, and you know, our goal is to support every platform that comes along.

[00:12:42.888] Kent Bye: And so, are you able to view some of these Janus VR experiences on either like a Daydream View or Gear VR? And maybe talk a bit about what that experience is like.

[00:12:52.663] James Baicoianu: Oh yeah, definitely. We have support for both of those. We're also working on a native client for Android as well. So we'll have more direct access to Daydream. We'll be in the marketplace, hopefully, once that launches. But yeah, it's the kind of thing where if you build a room with the idea that you're targeting mobile and desktop, obviously the mobile devices are a little bit more limited in their processing capabilities. So you'd have to build a simple room in order to use that on the mobile, but we have full support for both 2D magic window on those devices and it's kind of seamless transition into VR devices.

[00:13:31.995] Kent Bye: Yeah, and you just showed me a brief little demo of the Internet Archive of being able to have some sort of spatial interface into this archive of all sorts of multimedia, from videos to audio to lots of PDFs and text. And maybe you could talk a little bit about either that specific example of the Internet Archive and what they're doing with JanusVR, or other websites that you see that are doing some pretty interesting things when it comes to integration.

[00:13:55.559] James Baicoianu: Sure, yeah, the Internet Archive stuff is something that I've been working on for a while with them. I got involved in their software emulation program about three or four years ago where Jason Scott wanted to bring old software that, you know, right now, if you wanted to check out like an old Apple IIe program, You'd have to track down some hardware and, you know, actually run it where you could, you know, if you were technically savvy, you could configure an emulator on your desktop and run it that way. But all that stuff was really just kind of not accessible to most people. So what his goal was to take all of that software and make it available directly in a web browser. So I got involved with that. First we did the MAME emulator, so working on arcades and emulating old systems like the Atari, Game Gear, basically any type of hardware you can imagine from 20, 30, up to 60, 70 years ago is emulated in some way by MAME. So we pushed that live and that was wildly popular for a while because a lot of journalists wanted to write about the history of computing, but it was all this kind of nebulous thing that happened in the past. It was hard for them to check out what it was they were reporting on. So now we've expanded the corpus of what we offer there, and we have many platforms that you can just click a link and you launch. Obviously the most popular one right now is Oregon Trail for the Apple IIe. We've added DOSBox support, so you can play old DOS games. We have versions of Windows 3.1, which was one of our most popular ones. loaded up either directly in your web browser or I've taken a lot of this emulation work and tied it into VR worlds as well. So, on the 25th anniversary of Windows 3.1's release, I put out a world where we took these emulated DOS systems and put them in a world with an old IBM PC and it was a kind of collaborative web VR experience where you could just kind of come in here and you see other people using this old system and that was very popular.

[00:16:03.508] Kent Bye: Wow, that's really amazing. I went to the Computer History Museum that's right there and like near Mountain View and that was where actually the very first Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference was back in 2014 but I had a chance to drop by there and actually go through their exhibits and what's interesting about what you're saying to me is that you have this opportunity to give people a direct experience of some of these technologies and that The challenge with a lot of this stuff is that you may create a unity binary or something and then a few years later it's out of date and it's broken and you can't actually experience it anymore. We're in this period of it's actually very difficult to archive these digital experiences. That's what people who were in the government or military, having to archive spatial information, they're much more interested in some of these open formats to be able to use the web to ensure that they'll be able to actually have access to them again. Some people are still using VRML files, for example. For this, being able to actually go back and have access again to some of these computer games and experiences and actually have a direct experience of it, but within the context of some of the most cutting-edge technology immersed within a virtual reality world, we've created a whole scene to kind of go re-experience this. It really does remind me of this kind of like Ready Player One-esque idea where in the future the most cutting-edge technology you're going back in the past and looking at the origins of these computer games.

[00:17:27.269] James Baicoianu: Exactly, I mean for me that's a compelling part is you know the archive did the work to get this stuff on the web and that was that was amazing. But the next step is just to put it into context of, you know, what would this, you know, if you're using this old computer, you know, what did people's desks look like in the 80s? You know, everyone had, you know, old flatbed scanner, like all these kind of little things that people have nostalgia for them. Nostalgia is very powerful. You know, so if you can give someone this kind of flashback into this time that they remember, You know, people really love that. And it's funny you mentioned Ready Player One, because that was, as I was working on this, every time I would show it to someone, they'd be like, dude, have you read Ready Player One? This is straight out of there. And I'm like, I haven't got around to it. I haven't got around to it. And then finally I read it and like, All right. That's right on. Yeah, you're doing it. Trying. I don't want to be claiming that I'm building something bigger than I am. But that's the goal, is to just bring all this stuff and make it all accessible. I think that so many of these walled garden approaches, they make it difficult to bring stuff like that online. And the archive has to deal with these issues of copyright and intellectual property ownership. You know, there are definitely many of those old games and systems which, you know, they're still actively enforced copyright and, you know, the archive is very good about if someone submits a complaint about them, they'll take it offline, make it not accessible. But overwhelmingly, the response that they get is someone who developed, you know, an Apple IIe game back in the 80s stumbles upon, you know, their work is now available in a web browser and they can play it and experience it and you know, they're thankful for that. So in some cases they don't even have copies themselves, they lost all access to it. You know, we even had, I think Tim Sweeney was excited that he saw his old ZZT, I forget the name of the engine, but yeah, this very, you know, early graphical text-based game. It was like when text games were first evolving into graphical, where you have like, you know, the graphics are represented by little characters with colors rather than actual graphics. And there's this whole series of games that people have built on top of that, which, you know, many of those games were built by people who were amateurs at the time, you know, 14-year-old kids who were just kind of hacking on something on their parents' computer, and they put it out there and just kind of forgot about it. But now it's available for anyone to go out and check out.

[00:19:59.232] Kent Bye: Yeah, I'm in awe of what Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archive have been able to achieve just because, you know, they've basically been documenting and recording the internet and making it publicly available for a lot of sites that are online for a while and for the way that everything's set up. If someone dies or if they let it elapse, then the website will disappear. So there's a bit of this erosion of the memory of this digital era and I feel like you know they're one of the few institutions that I know of that's really trying to capture and preserve and make available to people and I know that they've you know done stuff with recording videos and audio and I think they were doing an archive of YouTube for a while and they're still like thinking about like the future of like what's it gonna mean when there's these immersive websites and then how do you capture and preserve that such that you know the stuff that we have now are we gonna be able to have access to it in the future we have all this fragmentation of walled gardens of these experiences and maybe in another 20, 30 years, people were creating Unity emulators to be able to see some of the very earliest VR experiences. But for right now, it seems like what Internet Archive is doing is trying to preserve this cultural heritage and make it accessible to us, and that Janus is right there also trying to give an immersive experience, but also thinking about how are we going to preserve this immersive virtual world in the metaverse.

[00:21:21.960] James Baicoianu: Exactly. I think the archive, you know, they're concerned primarily with collecting all this stuff. And like you said, maybe right now it's not possible to demo that stuff, but it's available. It's stored somewhere, so that if the original website goes down, at least there's a copy. So, you know, that's the work that Jason Scott has been doing, you know, every couple months he kind of pings me and says, hey, let's try to get a new system online. You know, I think the latest one, we've been working on improving our Apple. We've had the older Apple, the Apple IIe's and that kind of thing, but we're trying to move this forward to have, you know, Macintosh, you know, OS 7, 8, 9, eventually 10, Windows itself, you know, modern Windows. And that brings us to the level where we can launch these applications that you couldn't install many old Windows 95 applications, you just can't run on modern Windows. No libraries available or needs a compatibility mode that just isn't possible anymore. without resorting to emulation. And so the more we can take this content that's kind of locked away in unusable formats and make it available just through the click of a link, we're always looking for new ways to do that.

[00:22:38.270] Kent Bye: Great. So what do you want to personally experience in VR?

[00:22:42.491] James Baicoianu: What do I want to experience? I mean, there's so much. Where to begin? I mean, I'm very much a creator. I like to build worlds and see other people experiencing them. So a lot of people ask me questions about, have you tried X, Y, and Z? And unfortunately, I'm not as good about going out and trying every experience as I should be. But all the capturing of real world spaces, you know, and people talk about it in the context of travel, but also preservation. If you think about, you know, cultural artifacts or, you know, statues and things like that that are being destroyed worldwide. Being able to have some record of that, even if the physical object no longer exists, if you can have a scan of the statues at Palmyra or things like that, put it in a context and tell people why these things are important, that's to me really important and interesting.

[00:23:43.009] Kent Bye: Great. And finally, what do you think is the ultimate potential of virtual reality and what it might be able to enable?

[00:23:51.303] James Baicoianu: I mean, I'm definitely interested in the remote working aspect. Yeah, like I said, for GenisVR, we do all our meetings in GenisVR, and our team is spread throughout the world. So, you know, we've done, you know, just regular voice chats, tried some video chats, things like that, and you just don't get that same kind of connection that you do, you know, when you have an embodiment of yourself and you're able to communicate and look as close to eye-to-eye as technology currently allows. So obviously any increases in that level of immersion, I'm really looking forward to. And I think VR is going to be the closest we'll get in maybe in our lifetimes to teleportation. The idea that I could have remote bots, whether they're down the street at the warehouse kind of thing or on Mars, and I'm able to you know, see what is in that location and give commands to those, you know, remote, whether it's machinery or, you know, maybe I'm orchestrating some activity, being able to be there without actually being there. Yeah, I think that's going to have pretty wide-reaching implications. I mean, if you look at the San Francisco Bay Area right now, you know, you look at how congested things are and, you know, this idea that it's kind of a shame we've almost gone back on the idea of the Internet being this, you know, if you go back to the 80s, all these companies that were building the future of the Internet, were all over the place. They were in, you know, Idaho and, you know, rural New York and they weren't clustered in the tech centers or what have become the tech centers. But because of, I think, lack of that ability to kind of collaborate remotely, we've converged on this idea that if you're building something for the internet, you should be in San Francisco or you should be in New York or LA. You have to be in one of these kind of centers where it's happening. versus VR I think opens it up to you can work from anywhere to a level that you know right now you know obviously you can do teleconferencing kind of thing from anywhere but I think VR takes that to the next level where you don't need to live you know even within you know a hundred miles of San Francisco you can live anywhere in the world and still get that same kind of collaboration.

[00:26:06.130] Kent Bye: Awesome and is there anything else that's left unsaid that you'd like to say?

[00:26:10.578] James Baicoianu: Ah, well, I mean, Janice, we're still working on all kinds of different things. Our latest experiments have been with a lot of crypto coin type stuff. You know, one of the questions people ask a lot is, how do I monetize content in VR, WebVR especially? And, you know, that's a hard question. And so we've been working both on our own kind of payment processor for accepting bitcoins and other kind of crypto coins, and trying to get involved in some other community efforts. High Fidelity has been working on launching their own crypto coin and they want to get other companies involved, so we're right there interested in doing that and just kind of making it easier for people to buy and sell and just kind of make financial transactions in VR.

[00:26:53.894] Kent Bye: Awesome, well thank you so much.

[00:26:57.176] James Baicoianu: Oh, thank you for having me.

[00:26:58.809] Kent Bye: So that was James Bakewianu. He's a developer for JanusVR. So, I have a number of different takeaways about this interview. First of all, JanusVR is always on the cutting edge of whatever the latest technology is. And I think that they're usually one of the first to try to do these various integrations. Because they have GenisVR, markup language, it's kind of equivalent to A-Frame in the sense that it's just a way to create their own markup language that gets compiled down and to be able to see immersive VR experiences on the web. So one of the things that they've been able to do is, first of all, they have this Vesta, which is kind of curating all these different user-generated sites. And so you can go there and be able to kind of explore around these different small worlds that people have been able to create. I'd say they're kind of like the little tech demos, just kind of little art projects or being able to see like SpaceX rocket launch or go to Mars. And they also have some social VR components to them as well. I just tried out their Oculus Go client and they're trying to do something where they're creating something that is able to be seen both on a VR browser as well as a, you know, mobile VR browser and the performance on the mobile VR browser I think is still got a lot of ways to go. It's kind of slow and clunky and there was kind of some inconsistencies just in the navigation on the Oculus Go but I saw some of the same worlds within the context of my 2D web browser, and I was able to have a much higher resolution and almost like a better user experience by just using my laptop than doing it on Oculus Go. So they're trying to do this kind of cross-platform approach, which I think is really important because as VR is growing, we're kind of in this transitional phase where you need to have a 2D portal into some of these worlds as well as have things both from mobile VR browsers as well as with the desktop PC. So, the other thing is that because GNSVR isn't necessarily one of the leading social VR platforms, that means that they're more likely to be collaborating with other people and to be able to do these various different integrations. And, you know, one of the things that Phil Prosdale points out is Metcalfe's Law, just that there's this concept of evaluating the value of a communications network that it's proportional to the square of the nose of the people that are interconnected. And when you think about the internet, the value comes in the different links to other websites that are linked in there. And so as you're able to go into a world in JanusVR, you're able to have these portals and have kind of like the early days of the internet with things like Yahoo, where you would go to Yahoo to see what the latest sites on the internet were. and I think we're kind of at that phase with virtual reality where you can start to curate and create these rooms that point off to other rooms and I think that is the real value of you know having something like Janus VR is that it's still in that early days where there are these walled gardens like CompuServe and AOL which were providing a much more curated user experience maybe higher fidelity types of experiences and that's kind of what you're getting with a lot of the Unity applications and a lot of the native apps that are out there is that the user experience is actually just a lot better All around I would say and that like the web is still trying to I think in some ways Optimize and get to the point where it's a complete parity with the native application. So you have this tension between the centralization and decentralization and that we're starting to try to seed the foundations of what that decentralized alternative to the centralization is. And so the user experience of those decentralized social VR experiences are not going to be at the same level as the centralized ones, but In the long run, you're going to have potentially more freedom, more opportunity to have a business model with cryptocurrencies. And so that's part of the reason why I'm going to this decentralized web summit, just to see what is happening in terms of what the underlying technological foundations and where the web is going to go at the infrastructure layer. So that's some of the interest that I'm going to be looking at and moderating a discussion there at the Decentralized Web Summit with GNSVR and some other people that are looking at things like self-sovereign identity, cryptocurrencies, and Internet of Things, things like that. So that's all I have for today, and I just wanted to thank you for listening to the Voices of VR podcast. And if you enjoy the podcast, then please do consider supporting this podcast. This is a podcast that I rely upon your donations in order to continue to bring you this type of coverage. And so if you enjoy that and want to see more, then become a member of the Patreon. You can join today at patreon.com slash Voices of VR. Thanks for listening.

More from this show